Kitchn Love Letters

This Spicy, Small-Batch Condiment Was Gifted to Me by Kitchn’s Editor-in-Chief — And It’s Unlike Anything I’ve Ever Had

published Apr 24, 2022
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Credit: Thao Thai

Food history is rife with fun origin stories. Someone accidentally drops something into a pot. Two things randomly get combined together to create some sort of alchemy magic. Or something gets made on a whim. The creation of Flip Eat’s Liquid Gold garlic oil, as well as its spicier twin, the Liquid Fire, was a case of the latter.

Credit: Thao Thai

At a supper club dinner in their apartment, Flip Eats owners Joel and Rachel Javier featured kamayan dishes heaped on banana leaves. They had the idea that a make-your-own garlic rice would be the perfect addition to the meal. Chef Joel Javier, the award-winning maestro of New American Filipino cuisine, imagined each guest spooning homemade garlic oil over steaming rice, creating a table experience rich in flavor. So he made some — with garlic-infused oil, garlic crisps, and various spices — and put it on offer.

Buy: Flip Eats Liquid Fire, $8.00 for 4 ounces at Flip Eats

After tasting the condiment, someone at the dinner said, “This here is liquid gold!” — and the garlicky condiment was born. The couple started hand-making the stuff for purchase (not just for dinner party guests!) and they’ve since added a spicier version “for those who wanted some heat added to our garlic magic.”

A certain food connoisseur and friend gifted me a couple jars of the Liquid Fire, which I immediately squirreled away. I had it in my mind that I had to “use up” the ubiquitous jar of Lao Gan Ma chili oil in my fridge before I could treat myself to a scoop of Liquid Fire. And my one regret is that I waited so long to pop that lid open and give it a try.

Credit: Thao Thai

I first tasted Liquid Fire spooned on top of over-easy eggs (coincidentally, one of the Javiers’ favorite ways to use it too!), and the taste was unlike anything else I’d ever had. Spicy, with a warm and generous heat that never overwhelmed the food it touched. Balanced with velvety oil, and rounded out by the very slightest trace of sweetness. Liquid Fire lives up to the Javiers’ promise: “We want you to taste it like we’re in your kitchen making it for you.”

Since that first bite, I’ve had Liquid Fire with dozens of dishes — drizzled on top of pan-fried dumplings, infused in a shrimp fried rice, and simply dolloped on roasted veggies. It never disappoints. 

Credit: Thao Thai

Each jar is purposefully small, to preserve the taste and to remind home cooks about the nature of wholesome food. (Not to worry: a little goes a long way.) About their small-batch method, the Javiers say, “We believe good food expires. Anything that is at its peak with its best flavors should have an expiration date. Same goes for our condiments. We make them in small batches, with no preservatives, simply because they just taste better that way.”

Recently, I ordered a few more jars for our pantry and promptly cracked one open, to serve with some pad Thai noodles. My husband sighed and said, “Ah. The Liquid Fire is back.” 

There’s sometimes a waitlist for both the Liquid Gold and the Liquid Fire, so when I say you should probably get some now, I mean it. These beautiful jars also make for a memorable host gift that’ll wow any condiment-lover. And if you’re in the midst of wooing one, might I suggest a jar of Liquid Fire instead of a bouquet of red roses?

Do you have a favorite store-bought condiment? Tell us in the comments below.